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town events

NPO members and I attended a meeting of“Branding Project for Isumi Organic Rice”

NPO members and I attended a meeting of “Branding Project for Isumi Organic Rice” held on June 24, 2015 at Isumi government buildings at Ohara.
This meeting was hosted by the “Liaison association for creating hometown where people live with nature”

This liaison association was organized last year and was operated “for the purpose of promoting revitalization of local community through conservation and reproduction of natural environment of the local forest, the area surroundings, and the local sea and contributing to the development of attractive local community where people live with nature with sustainable biodiversity.” (code)

This association has the following three working groups and they discuss local issues:

Nature conservation/biodiversity liaison working group
Environmentally-sound agriculture liaison working group
Local economic development liaison working group

“Branding Project for Isumi Organic Rice” is one of the associated projects of this year.

The kick-off meeting was held this time.

An explanation about the history, organic farming and consumption trend was provided by the executive office, and the branding strategy was provided by Mr. Ito of Environmentally-sound agriculture liaison working group.
Thereafter, the participants were divided into 3 groups and analyzed factors such as appeals, characteristics and its influence to the region of Isumi Rice (Specially Cultivated Rice [no agricultural chemical and no chemical fertilizers are used during cultivation period.] ), which would be a premise of branding.

It was good to know the following information in this meeting:

– The Specially Cultivated Isumi Rice was adopted for the school lunch at elementary and secondary schools in Isumi city this year. However, while 12 ha paddy fields are needed to cover the amount, there are only 4.5 ha of fields where they grow the Isumi Rice. Hence, the production cannot afford even only school lunch.

– The producers who have worked hard to grow tasty rice and consequently had to use agricultural chemical and chemical fertilizers, and the producers who have worked hard to grow safe and secure rice rather than tasty rice seldom had a contact in Isumi city, but it was realized through this association finally. It may be possible for them to understand each other and assimilate each other in the future.

I knew through this meeting the difficulty and depth that even we know that organic products with no agricultural chemical is good, it is difficult to realize it at production site, and further to make it as a job for living or to expand it as a local industry.

The next meeting will be held in early July.

( Zackey / Yasuko )

I participated in Symposium on Creating Satoyama where People Live with Nature”

“3rd Symposium on Creating Satoyama where People Live with Nature” was held on March 7th 2015 at Misaki community center.

The theme was “Let’s hand over the rich nature and build the safe and secure agriculture for the future of children”

It started with a speech about “Biodiversity and creating strategy in Isumi-shi.”
And then messages were given from the citizen. After that the panel discussion was held with Mr. Inaba, a lecturer of organic rice growing.

Many people were interested and participated in the symposium.
There were also elementary school students and they were listening earnestly.

The message from the citizen was about creating satoyama, woodlands located near human habitat, exclusively in Isumi-shi.

Satoyama is an area where multiple environmental factors such as paddy field, vegetable field, stream, forest, and human are mixed.

In the symposium, I knew that the condition of satoyama in Isumi-shi was better among others in Japan.

People had been living in the environment with rich biodiversity in the old days, and the benefit of satoyama had been handed down, but now a lot of fields and woodlands of satoyama areas are abandoned and no longer cultivated or taken care. The influence extends even to the ocean.

But I knew that it is not too late yet.
For example, although the number of Miyako tanago (Japanese bitterling, fish) of nationally protected species is less than before, it is not extinct yet, and there is such fish in Isumi-shi.

Among these stories, the speech of Mr. Shinishi Tsurubuchi was very encouraging.
It was about what he felt about nature, relationship with people, and I felt his passion for rice-growing.

Afterward, 3 boys from 5th grade of Furusawa elementary school presented “Our wish” representing students.

Their frank comment regarding their fieldwork of rice-growing and observation on lives in the paddy field in the class was favorable.

I do not think that people know the nature very well just because they live in the countryside.
I felt the “real experience” is the most important.

The mood is different when children participate in the meeting!

The symposium was a good opportunity for me to see matters not as someone else’s business, but as my own business.

You can read the whole texts of “Isumi biodiversity strategy”.

( UI / Yasuko )

Solar Panel on the Farmland

The wind is still chilly, but the sun is becoming somewhat warm these days.

As a project to utilize the sunshine, solar panel was installed at Goheiyama-nouen, Mr. Fujie’s farmland, where he grows blueberry and fig. I visited his farm to see the installation of the panels.

The trestle had been built in the blueberry field.

I had ever seen solar panels only on the roof or on the ground.
But here they install the panels 3 meters above the blueberry field with the sufficient space between the panels to maintain the sunshine condition for the blueberry.
This is a new method called “solar sharing.”

This was the field for people to enjoy blueberry picking when it is in the season, and it remain the same this year. It is a way to utilize the land effectively.

In this blueberry field, it generates enough electricity to provide power to10 homes.
The electricity generated is going to be sold Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc.

I was most surprised that the people who were installing the panels were the acquaintances each other, not outsourced engineers.
They are of course knowledgeable about solar system including solar system related engineers, but they are also supporters of the project.
Some people are from Ichihara-shi, and even from Fukushima prefecture!
It was lively on the day with total 19 people participated as a helper.

They also do detailed assembling works by themselves.

Persons who were used to work in high place installed the panel one by one. The total number of the panel was 180 pieces.

They think that they build it themselves, so it becomes their own matter, not someone else’s matter, and it is also good that they can fix themselves when it is broken.

They create an actual example by themselves, and would like expand the method to other people who have land or fallow land.
It must be a tough work, but they talk pleasantly.

Solar energy grows blueberry and generates electricity at the same time, while people’s energy are so powerful as well!

You will be able to enjoy blueberry picking under the driving solar panel next time!
I look forward to it!

< Horii / Yasuko )

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